Minister of Civil Service Hun Many, who also heads the national working group for Kampong Speu province, has called on provincial authorities at all levels to prepare to support local residents as they confront the effects of climate change.

He explained that Cambodia is likely to suffer severe droughts this year, due to the El Nino weather phenomenon.

In a March 4 audio address to the province, Many said the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology warned that the Kingdom will be impacted by El Nino.

He appealed to local authorities to use water sparingly and store as much as they could, in order to be able to respond quickly to any possible drought conditions.

“According to the meteorology ministry, El Nino will bring early seasonal rains, while the rainy season itself will arrive late. Therefore, I am asking the authorities to inform farmers to plan on using water as sparingly s possible,” he added.

He requested that the province work closely with all relevant government institutions and provincial departments so they are prepared to help farmers.

Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang said the provincial authorities were heeding Many’s calls. He believes it is necessary for the province to take action and be prepared to offer a timely response to the coming conditions.

“The provincial disaster management committee is sharing this important message to the public. We have prepares relief measures for places which may experience water shortages, and have instructed the village and commune authorities to instruct people not to waste any water,” he added.

The provincial administration announced that over the past year, the province had grown over 120,000ha of rice paddies, with just over 300ha affected by climate change.

The meteorology ministry predicted on March 2 that as Cambodia suffered the effects of El Nino, the dry season would last longer than it has for many years, making weather conditions hot and dry. Overall rainfall is expected to be far less than usual, although an increase in thunder and lightning storms is forecast.

It confirmed that at the beginning of the rainy season, temperatures will be higher than they have been for many years

The ministry notified the authorities and the public to use water sparingly, especially in rural areas which are far from reliable water sources.

The ministry also appealed to them to prepare for the extreme weather, noting that hot, dry, weather, coupled with thunderstorms, are expected in April and May.